The University of Washington has announced a $6 million gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous in support of efforts to diversify the state's education workforce.
The gift to the university's College of Education will create an endowed fund that provides additional financial support to teacher candidates from diverse backgrounds, including those of color and those who are multilingual. The gift also will fund two additional staff positions in the college's teacher education program and will fund professional learning and learning supports aimed at enhancing retention in the teaching workforce, as well as the evaluation and dissemination of key learnings that can inform efforts to boost the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of individuals entering the profession.
Research has shown that teacher diversity is a key driver in K-12 student success, especially for students of color, whose chances of being placed in a gifted education program, graduating from high school, and/or attending college improve with exposure to even one teacher of the same race/ethnicity. In Washington state, where nearly half of K-12 students are individuals of color, only 11 percent of teachers are people of color.
"Students thrive when they see themselves in and can relate to their teachers," said Mia Tuan, dean of the UW College of Education. "To help all students achieve their fullest potential, we need to invest in systems that support and empower the teachers who serve them."